Colors of Music Festival

Colors of Music Festival, Barrie ON

This is the 10th year for the Colours of Music Festival in Barrie, Ontario. This small city north of Toronto hosts a very ambitious festival every September where you can not only hear classical music beautifully played and sung, but also enjoy the glorious Autumn colours offered up by local trees, free of charge. I have the great pleasure of being composer in residence this year, and I thought you’d like to know what I’ve written.

First off, on Monday Sept 24 the MacMillan Singers from the University of Toronto will sing “Rise up my Love,” a motet on the famous text from the Song of Solomon. I thought that university students would appreciate these beautiful words, and I also admit that I wanted to take a stab at this text, since my predecessor at St. Mary Mag’s has a pretty good setting of it. I am just that much of a Schmuck.

The next piece is a bit of chamber music played on Friday afternoon. It’s a sonata for trumpet, clarinet and organ – not a common combination, but I had fun writing it. It’s called “Colours of the Heart” and it’s in three movements: Red (courage), Blue (longing) and Gold (triumph.)

The last piece is for my own choir at St. Mary Mag’s and it’s called “Little Organ Mass” and we’ll sing this on Saturday Sept 29. It’s a setting of the modern Anglican words for the Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus and Agnus Dei. The organ takes a predominant role and will be skillfully played by my organ student Matthew Whitfield.

All of this happens due to the imagination and dedication of one man – Bruce Owen – who has tirelessly devoted himself to music in Barrie for many years. He commissioned all these works. I am so grateful to him for encouraging me to present a whole concert programme of my own compositions. I would never have had the confidence to do that myself, so I am very grateful to him.

Do come up (or over, or down) to Barrie if you have some time to spare next week. Here’s the link to the Festival website:



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